Sunday, 5 February 2012

The "I am a Catholic" card

I’ve been having quite a bit of fun (frivolous word! but I hope you will indulge me) with this idea of the “I am a Catholic” card, which was the subject of my post on 3rd February. It’s really commendable that the Bishops of England and Wales have embarked on this initiative. The Catholic Herald has the details, and the wording, which, for convenience, I have transcribed here:
As a Catholic, I,
[insert your name]
am called to:
Share with others the joy of knowing Jesus Christ
Celebrate the sacraments regularly
Love my neighbour as myself
Use the gifts that I’ve been given wisely
Forgive as I have been forgiven

In the event of an emergency please contact a Catholic priest.

According to the Herald, the other side “has a quote from Blessed John Henry Newman, focusing on the call to serve and affirming that everyone has a mission.”

A few commenters thought that the wording could have been better chosen. David suggested that others might like to produce their own versions, in no more than 50 words or so, and encouraged parishes, groups, and individuals, to do this. “The more the merrier,” said ms Catholic state; and I think that’s a very good idea.

The Bishops’ version is a valiant start. More could be done, though, to utilise every scrap of the space - that of a credit card - to maximum effect. This would give them more scope for composing short, pithy statements of what it means, specifically, to be a Christian of the Catholic Church, rather than, say, a broad-Church Anglican or other Christian. In addition, we need to take account of the important point made by the commenter Andrea Hyde, that some Protestant Christians have the strange idea that Catholics are not Christians.

Here are some provisional ideas for my personal “I am a Catholic” card.
The size of a credit card is only 8.5cm by 5.3cm, less a small margin all round; therefore everything that is not essential must be excluded.
Both sides should make an impact.
Personally, I would not use one side for the Newman quotation. Instead, I would devote that side to something like the following, in large bold lettering:

This could be accompanied by a small picture of a crucifix in one corner.

The other side would then be fully available for the most concise essential statement of what it means to be a Catholic.
Apart from the small crucifix on the “I am a Catholic” side, there should be no other illustrations; they take up valuable space.

David’s idea of about 50 words has gone out of the window, even if I don’t count the headings; but I have managed to fit onto one side what I hope are the basic things one would want to say to an enquirer.
Anything I have omitted (mistakes excepted) is, I hope, implicit in what is included.
I hope these short statements are intriguing enough to prompt the reader to say “What does this mean?” or “But what about…?” and so to lead that person to learn more.
This is a tall order. But my first thoughts are along these lines:
As Catholics, we believe in
- One God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
- Jesus Christ, our Saviour
- The Catholic Church, founded by Him to guide us
We are called to
- Love God completely
- Be good to all
- Live a moral life
- Turn from sin, and ask God’s forgiveness
We are drawn close to God
- In the Holy Mass and Sacraments
- When we pray
- When we read the Bible
And when this life is ended
- We hope for happiness with God forever.

I've run through the Creed, and looked at the chapter headings in my Penny Catechism; and I hope I've included everything that absolutely had to be included. I hope that it also sounds attractive.

Picture from, via Google Images

If I am injured or taken ill,
please contact a Catholic priest.


Brian said...

Why reinvent the wheel? The CBCEW has produced something that's fresh,contemporary and accessible. The text is not particuarly a big thing. It's about getting people hooked / baited / striking up a conversation and then serving them.50% of the population of this country identify themselves as non-religious. The other 50% comprise of about 44% Christian - mostly CofE. RCs about 9%. Christianity is dying out -it's a generational thing - we have to engage the young. Your script is perhaps a bit to theological and catechetical methinks? Anyway,can I use it in an ATM ;-)


Dorothy B said...

Thanks for your comment, Brian!

Part-time Pilgrim said...

"Be good to all" could be strengthened to "put the love of others before the love of self" or "love others as much as oursleves".

Dorothy B said...

Thank you, PTP. I have found the whole thing a really interesting exercise.

Ttony said...

I'm afraid I've tagged you - look at :this!